parent opinion

'My parents pressured me to have kids. So yes, I do expect constant childcare.'

When I gave birth to my first child I was hit with a tidal wave of emotions. 

Of all the feelings that arose in the wake of her arrival, probably one of the most special connections was the deepening of the bond between me and my parents. 

They say that you have a newfound appreciation for your parents when you become one yourself, but it truly knocked me for six. I just wanted to hug them and say, "Thank you for everything you did."

While you're here, watch horoscopes as new mums. Story continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

For plenty of new mums, we begin to feel comfortable with our new role right about the same time as having to go back to work - go figure, huh? 

When I began to think about childcare, my immediate reaction was to ring in the grandparents. Firstly, I didn't feel ready to send my 11-month-old daughter to daycare, and secondly, grandparents are FREE.

So there I was, expecting that this would just be available to us. Free grandparent childcare.

And then it wasn't.

At first, I felt slightly annoyed. Wasn't it our parents who were begging us to give them a grandchild? Didn't they want us to get ahead? Why couldn't they shift their entire schedule to accommodate looking after our child?

As I posed all these questions in my head, I started to realise how outrageous I sounded. My expectations were that my daughter's grandparents would be available for childcare, but in reality, that just didn't work for them and I had to accept that. 


For a number of reasons they weren't able to meet my expectations, and I had to make peace with that. They are people too and their time is just as valuable as mine. It was a big lesson in managing expectations and how to move forward with understanding. 

It got me thinking about the different expectations we place on our parents - the grandparents of our children. While I expected free childcare, others might expect financial support, emotional support or school fee support. 

I asked six other mums about their expectation levels for their parents' support. Here's what they said.


"We don't expect financial support but we have been very fortunate to have help from both my husband’s parents and mine. We couldn't have opened a new business with a six-month-old or continued to run our businesses without their help. Working nights also means we have relied on them a lot - there's no way we could have afforded the cost of babysitters.

"I can see it brings them a lot of joy too so I don’t normally feel guilty. Sometimes I feel like I’m pushing it and asking too much but both sides are always honest and say no if they can't. I would love to be able to pass on the favour and help with my grandkids one day."


"Of the three out of four grandparents my kids have, I had high expectations. They've all turned out to be useless."


"I definitely feel a level of expectation in regards to time and emotional support from both. Especially, from my parents because they put so much pressure on me to have one. Also, my mum is very anti-daycare so I've said 'Fine, you have to help then'.


"I don't expect anything from them financially but my mum constantly buys for her which is so appreciated. They have also said that if I really want, they will pay half the school fees for one child to go to private school as they want her to go and I don't think we can afford it."


"I just want them to be present, love them, take an interest in their lives and enjoy time with them. I think living away from my parents, I've learnt to just do everything myself. 

"So even when they're around I feel weird asking them to do things. It's just a bonus when they help make a meal or take one for a walk."


"Childcare absolutely. Especially since they were the ones who put pressure on me to have grandchildren. Part of that is a responsibility. I'm super fortunate that my side sees it as a family responsibility where we all help out both ways (when they need me and when I need them). 

"I don't think I would be able to be where I am mentally and emotionally without the childcare provided by my mum and dad. Knowing how important it is to me, I already think how great it will be to give the same back to my kids."


"In the two years I've been a mum I think we have asked my husband's father to babysit three times. He lives five minutes down the road but just isn't really into helping in that way, so I have zero expectations with our new baby on the way."

Feature Image: Getty.

It can be tricky raising little humans and that’s why we want to hear from all parents in this short survey. Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher!